Trump imposes sanctions on Turkey

PTI Washington | Updated on October 15, 2019 Published on October 15, 2019

US President Donald Trump (file photo).   -  REUTERS

I’m fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path, the President said.

Protesting Turkey’s military offensive into northeast Syria, US President Donald Trump on Monday announced he will authorise sanctions against Turkish officials, raise steel tariffs and end negotiations on a $ 100 billion trade deal.

Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters on Wednesday after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.

“This (executive) order will enable the US to impose powerful additional sanctions on those who may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriating refugees or threatening the peace, security or stability in Syria,” Trump said in a statement.

Turkey’s military offensive is endangering civilians and threatening peace, security and stability in the region, he said, adding that he has been perfectly clear with his Turkish counterpart that his action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes.

“I’m fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” the president said.

Trump said he will be issuing the executive order authorising imposition of sanctions against current and former officials of Turkey and those contributing to destabilising Syria. The order will authorise a broad range of measures, including financial sanctions, the blocking of property, and barring entry into the US, he said, adding that the US will immediately stop negotiations with Turkey on a $ 100 billion trade deal.

Steel tariffs will be increased back up to 50 per cent, the level prior to the reduction in May, Trump said. He asserted that his administration will aggressively use economic sanctions to target those who enable, facilitate, and finance heinous acts in Syria.

“Turkey must ensure the safety of civilians, including religious and ethnic minorities, and is now, or may be in the future, responsible for the ongoing detention of ISIS terrorists in the region. “Unfortunately, Turkey does not appear to be mitigating the humanitarian effects of its invasion,” he said.

On pulling back of US troops, Trump said only a small contingent will remain at the Tanf Garrison in southern Syria to disrupt remnants of the ISIS. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had promised to bring back US troops from Syria and Afghanistan. US forces have defeated the ISIS physical caliphate, the troops are coming out will now redeploy and remain in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014, when the neglected threat of ISIS raged across Syria and Iraq, he said.

The troop withdrawal announcement came after the White House said it would step aside to allow for a Turkish operation President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned could come at any moment. “The US and our partners have liberated 100 per cent of ISIS’s ruthless territorial caliphate. Turkey must not put these gains in jeopardy,” Trump said.

Turkey must also prioritise the protection of civilians, particularly vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities in northeast Syria, he said. “Indiscriminate targeting of civilians, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and targeting of ethnic or religious minorities is unacceptable,” Trump said.

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Published on October 15, 2019
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